Robin Hobb (penname for Megan Lindholm) is a globally recognized, acclaimed writer. Her tales of Fitzchivalry Farseer are some of the most beloved fantasies on the shelves. She’s written two trilogies about the Royal Bastard and has begun a third trilogy which is being called “Fitz and the Fool.”  Here at the Completist, I’ve tried to feature authors who may have flown under the radar but this time around, I’m featuring a series that doesn’t necessarily feature the author’s best known character. Admittedly, Robin Hobb is far from such an “under the radar” author. (At one point in time, there was talk of her outselling George R.R. Martin in Europe). With that, let me introduce you to Bingtown, a port/trading city south of the Six Duchies (the primary location of the novels featuring FitzChivalry Farseer) and the primary setting for “The Liveship Traders” trilog. Like some previous installments of this column, it has been quite a while since I read these books (I read them as each book was published 1998, 1999, 2000), but much of the emotional impact of the novels remains very strongly with me.

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Here is the description and table of contents for the new audio anthology The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 6 edited by Allan Kaster…a marvelous collection of stories with nearly 10 hours of listening pleasure…

An unabridged audio collection of the best of the best science fiction stories published in 2013 by current and emerging masters of the genre, edited by Allan Kaster, as narrated by Tom Dheere, Nancy Linari, and Dara Rosenberg. More than 9 ½ hours on 8 CDs. In “Zero for Conduct” by Greg Egan, an Afghani teenager, living in a near-future Iran with her exiled grandfather, makes a game-changing superconductor discovery. A young girl struggles to survive on a planet, with a stringent class structure, where Doors are used to go off-world in “Exit, Interrupted” by C. W. Johnson. “Pathways” by Nancy Kress, follows a teenage girl from a small Kentucky mountain town, in a near-future U. S., struggling with her family and culture as she seeks treatment for Fatal Familial Insomnia. In “Entangled” by Ian R. MacLeod, an Indian woman, in a Britain turned upside down by a disease that links people s minds, searches for answers to her personal catastrophe. In “The Irish Astronaut” by Val Nolan, a colleague brings the ashes of an astronaut, who died in the Aquarius disaster, to Ireland for final burial. In “Among Us” by Robert Reed, a government agency goes to extraordinary lengths to identify and track the aliens among us. “A Map of Mercury” by Alastair Reynolds, showcases the plight of a failed artist dispatched to retrieve an artistic genius from a collective of cyborgs parading across the face of Mercury. In “Martian Blood” by Allen M. Steele, a researcher from Earth goes on an expedition into the untamed regions of Mars to extract blood from its natives. “The She-Wolf s Hidden Grin” by Michael Swanwick, set in the same milieu as Gene Wolfe s The Fifth Head of Cerberus, follows the childhoods of two sisters on a planet far from Earth. Finally, in “The Best We Can” by Carrie Vaughn, a frustrated scientist pursues first contact among an apathetic populace.

Here’s the table of contents…
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A.M. Dellamonica, author of Child of a Hidden Sea, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

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Here’s the synopsis for the Tonia Brown’s new Southern horror novel, Sundowners:

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-24

Interviews & Profiles

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[NOTE: This is part of a series of Q&As with the Shirley Jackson Award nominees.]

Mark Morris became a full-time writer in 1988 on the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, and a year later saw the release of his first novel, Toady. He has since published a further sixteen novels, among which are Stitch, The Immaculate, The Secret of Anatomy, Fiddleback, The Deluge and four books in the popular Doctor Who range.

His short stories, novellas, articles and reviews have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and magazines, and he is editor of the highly-acclaimed Cinema Macabre, a book of fifty horror movie essays by genre luminaries, for which he won the 2007 British Fantasy Award.

His most recently published or forthcoming work includes a novella entitled It Sustains for Earthling Publications, a Torchwood novel entitled Bay of the Dead, several Doctor Who audios for Big Finish Productions, a follow-up volume to Cinema Macabre entitled Cinema Futura and a new short story collection, Long Shadows, Nightmare Light.


Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the Shirley Jackson Award nomination! Will you tell us about your novella and what inspired you to write it?
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Recent Graphic Novel Reads of Interest

After spending all of my previous column focused on the comics of Joe R. Lansdale, I’ve decided to devote this entire missive to recent reads.

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Recent Ecological Science Fiction

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog, I take a look at a small handful of recent science fiction (or sf-related) books that deal with ecological themes…

Go read Recent Ecological Fiction at Kirkus Reviews…

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REVIEW SUMMARY: McCellan’s second Powder Mage novel expands the canvas of the story in a welcome and engaging manner.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS:: The repercussions of Promise of Blood echo forward, as Tamas strikes into Kez even as political events back in Adopest (and an angry god) threaten to overwhelm the promise of his revolution.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Engaging story of the main protagonist; excellent set pieces; tight writing.
CONS: Some choices in POV characters remain something of a lost opportunity.
BOTTOM LINE: A solid follow-up to The Crimson Campaign that keeps the momentum of the series.

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MIND MELD: Our Favorite Magical Items from Fantasy

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Sure, we’d all like to own a Quidditch broom or a crystal ball, but what magical item would you want the most? That was our esteemed panel’s challenge this week. Next week we ask a new set of panelists about their favorite SF devices.

Q: What magical item, artifact, weapon, etc., from the world of fantasy fiction would you most like to own? Why? What would you do with it?

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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming California Bones sequel Pacific Fire by Greg van Eekhout.

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What I love about these “Everything Wrong With…” videos is that it reminds me how much I, as a film viewer, am willing to overlook some of the most obvious mistakes and moviemaking laziness…
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-23

Interviews & Profiles

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Screenwriter, playwright, actor, and author of Martuk…the Holy and The Martuk Series, Jonathan Winn was born in Seattle, WA. He currently lives in the US. Martuk…the Holy: Proseuche is his second full-length novel and can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

A Monster Hiding in Plain Sight

by Jonathan Winn

I don’t live in a world where sparkly vampires sigh like lovelorn teenagers, their emotional angst all but defanging them.

I don’t live in a world where zombies with endless appetites lurch and stumble, their ends often coming with a surprising thwack of a shovel.

No, where I live is truly monstrous. It’s dark and forbidding. A place where innocent lives have grisly ends and ghosts still sob. The world I live in is one of betrayal and mistrust. Where the line separating enemy from friend is cloudy and constantly shifting. A land where those who walk and talk like you and me share nothing of our humanity. The world of my immortal Martuk (as in “two” with a hard “k” at the end…Martuk) is one where monsters hide in plain sight, and the blood on their hands is steeped in consequence and regret.
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[NOTE: This is part of a series of Q&As with the Shirley Jackson Award nominees.]

Nicole Cushing is an author of dark fiction.

She is the author of the novellas Children of No One (recently nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award) and I Am the New God.

The anthology Werewolves & Shapeshifters: Encounters With The Beast Within includes Nicole’s short fiction (alongside stories by Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, Charlaine Harris, and Chuck Palahniuk). Three of her tales received honorable mentions for Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year, Volume 5. One of her stories was selected for the Tangent Online 2013 Recommended Reading List. Several of her stories have been (or are currently being) adapted for audio presentation on podcasts such as Tales to Terrify, Pseudopod, and Cast Macabre. All told, Nicole has sold well over twenty short stories to various markets in the U.S. and U.K.

Her essay on the racism of H.P. Lovecraft has been quoted by The Guardian and linked to by The Atlantic Monthly.

She invites correspondence via Facebook, Twitter, or (if one must be old-fashioned about it) email at nicolecushingwriter (at) gmail (dot) com. A native of Maryland, she now lives with her husband in Indiana.

Nicole was kind enough to answer a few of my questions…


Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the Shirley Jackson Award nomination! Will you tell us about your novella and what inspired you to write it?
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NOTE: This installment of Special Needs In Strange Worlds features a guest post from author Paul Weimer! – Sarah Chorn

Minnesota dwelling Ex-pat New Yorker Paul Weimer is a Hugo Nominated podcaster [The Skiffy and Fanty Show 2014], SF Signal Irregular, Genre reviewer/columnist & writer. When he isn’t doing all of that, he loves photography and playing and talking about roleplaying games. You can find him on Twitter, and commenting on genre blogs far and wide.

Rolling Perception plus Awareness with Characters with Special Needs

by Paul Weimer

In roleplaying games, players inhabit other characters, other people, in other worlds. Wizards in a city in a desert, fighting a battle against the incoming horde of the Sand Sultan. A sword swinging barbarian delving into an ancient maze of tunnels called the “Londn Undrgrnd”. The pilot of a starship full of rogues and freebooters, the kind of woman who has the engines hot for the inevitably necessary getaway. The gnomish clockmaker, building golems to defend his allies. The Paladin of a Goddess of Law, who fights for justice not only on the tourney field, but in the Courts as well. Characters of all sorts of ethnicities, races, species and genders.

Is playing a character without legs, or with a mental disability, so different than these? Sometimes, when you roll perception plus awareness, you’re rolling for a character who has special needs. The one-eyed archer. The wheelchaired mutant with psychokinetic powers. The police officer, former army veteran, with severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The dark elf cleric, an exile to the surface world, who is severely weakened by sunlight.
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SF/F Crowd Funding Roundup For 7/22/2014

Crowd funding is the in thing for obtaining money to fund a variety of projects, with Kickstarter being the most prominent of these sites. With new projects going live daily, it’s a chore to keep up with, let alone find, interesting genre projects. The Crowd Funding Roundup will be our effort to bring projects we think are interesting to your attention so you can, if you so choose, decide to help out. These posts are a collaborative effort between James Aquilone and JP Frantz.

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Author Max Gladstone joined Fran Wilde on the Cooking the Books podcast to celebrate his new book in the Craft Sequence, Full Fathom Five, just out from Tor.

The ingredients for Cooking the Books podcast #003 – “That’s Craft with a C: Cooking the Books with Max Gladstone” include:
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Spectral Press has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology Spectral Book Of Horror Stories edited by Mark Morris and sporting a wonderful cover from Vincent Chong.

The book will be published in September but can be pre-ordered now.

Here’s the table of contents…

  1. “On The Tour” by Ramsey Campbell
  2. “The Dog’s Home” by Alison Littlewood
  3. “Funeral Rites” by Helen Marshall
  4. “Slape” by Tom Fletcher
  5. “The Night Doctor” by Steve Rasnic Tem
  6. “Dull Fire” by Gary Mcmahon
  7. “The Book and the Ring” by Reggie Oliver
  8. “Eastmouth” by Alison Moore
  9. “Carry Within Some Small Sliver of Me” by Robert Shearman
  10. “The Devil’s Interval” by Conrad Williams
  11. “Stolen Kisses” by Michael Marshall Smith
  12. “Cures For a Sickened World” by Brian Hodge
  13. “The October Widow” by Angela Slatter
  14. “The Slista” by Stephen Laws
  15. “Outside Heavenly” by Rio Youers
  16. “The Life Inspector” by John Llewellyn Probert
  17. “Something Sinister In Sunlight” by Lisa Tuttle
  18. “This Video Does Not Exist” by Nicholas Royle
  19. “Newspaper Heart” by Stephen Volk

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So this is happening: Phineas & Ferb take on Star Wars.

Premieres this Saturday, July 26th at 9 PM on Disney Channel. I’m crossing my lightsabers that this is better than the Marvel mashup they did a long time ago in a galaxy far away…

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